About the Author


Annie Crawford AM

Annie founded Can Too in 2005, and is Chair of the Can Too Foundation's board of directors.

Annie was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Annie is a qualified running coach and has been training for endurance events all her life.


More posts by Annie Crawford AM

Annie's Race Day Tips When Ocean Swimming

by Annie Crawford AM 23 Jan 2017

Congratulations amazing Can Tooers! You have done the training, faced your fears and you have made the difference — you are ready to race!

In the lead up to race day sometimes nerves can get the better of us, that’s why I’ve put together my top tips to help you prepare, stay motivated and of course have fun at your goal event! 

1. Get Ready For An Early Rise

Get up in plenty of time so that you are not stressing out. Make sure you are at the event at least 20 minutes before you need to meet the Can Too Team.

Parking at North Bondi can be difficult — we recommend you get public transport to alleviate any unneeded stress.

2. Breakfast as Usual

Don’t experiment with breakfast choices on race day, stick with something that works for you. Generally something light with a good mix of carbs and some protein works well, you should know what works for you by now!

3. Go to the Bathroom

Try and flush out your system before the swim (number 2). I drink coffee before a race, but other techniques work for other people.

4. Don’t get Burnt

You will be in the sun for a good portion of the day, so please make sure you cover up, put on sunscreen and if you can wait in the shade until your wave is called!

5. Check In Early

Registration for both events opens at 8am. Make sure you collect your timing chip and cap well before your Can Too Briefing

6. Bag Drop

Due to safety reasons we don’t allow bags to be left at the Can Too Tent. If you are bringing personal belongings to North Bondi please make sure you have a family member/friend who can look after your belongings.

7. Check the Surf

Start studying the surf as you do every Saturday! Study the cans/ buoys and know the course.

8. Don't Miss the Coaches Briefing

Be ready for the coach’s briefing and pre-race warm-up to clear the jitters, get acclimatised and prime the engine. Your coach will talk to you about the course and give you helpful advice on how best to tackle the surf on the day! This is also a good time to make sure those goggles are snug and clean.

  • 1km Race meeting time 8:45am! Race start time 9:15am.
  • 2km Race meeting time 10:00am! Race start time 10:30am.
  • Where: North Bondi Beach near the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club – look out for the bright orange Can Too Marquee!

Your coach will let you know what the conditions are like on the course, plus we all unite for a Can Too photo and group warm up before the race starts.

9. Remember to Breathe

As you line up in your wave, it’s easy to get a little nervous. If this happens to you don’t panic, everyone has some sort of nerves or excitement before a race.
Focus on taking steady breaths and mentally start to break the swim down into the smaller segments, this will help you focus on the task ahead.

In the words of Walter Elliot “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”

Break each part of the race down into segments and you’ll be running across that finish line in no time!

10. Entering the Water

Remember to run into the water until you’re at knee height, duck dive until you’re at hip height, then start swimming — don't forget It’s all about Rhythm & Timing.

11. Remember your Ocean Swimming Techniques

Keep your body streamlined, catch & pull and again don’t forget to breathe!

12. Sighting is Essential

Make sure you sight every 10-15 strokes, so you stay on course!

13. Draft off other swimmers

Try to draft off a slightly faster swimmer to take advantage of their slipstream (make sure you keep sighting as they may swim off course).

14. Give yourself enough room at the Buoys

If you’re nervous about swimming around the buoys, swim a little further out (3-4metres) so you’re not competing for space.

15. Catch Waves Into Shore

As you’re swimming into shore, make sure you sight behind you so you can catch those waves!!

16. Run With a Smile

Once you hit the shore, give yourself a moment to steady yourself before you put on a big smile and run up the sand to the finish line (there will be photographers so flash them your pearly whites & give them a wave)!

17. Have Several Goals

Sometimes things don’t go to plan! If you have more than one goal on race day you’re guaranteed to be a winner on the day! Remember the journey is as important as the race and you have all been on an incredible journey!

18. Have Fun & Celebrate!

Go forth and swim for yourselves, your family and friends and be proud in knowing that you are part of the Can Too Swim Team 2017 raising over $355,000 for Cancer Research! Above all, make sure you have fun! You have put in all the hard work, now it’s time to celebrate the completion of your goal event! You Can Too!!!


Looking for a New Can Too Challenge?

Why not test yourself by learning how to run with Can Too!

Train under a qualified coach in Sydney for the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon, 14km or 7km Relays. Training commences Wednesday 15 February. 


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